Friday, March 03, 2006

Three Futures: Tragedy, Technocracy, or Transformation

In this episode, I talk about what I see as the three most likely scenarious for human society in the near future. You could call it a choose your own adventure kind of podcast. You choose:
  • Tragedy (environmental, war, science gone bad)
  • Technocracy (control at the cost of human freedom)
  • Transformation (listen to find out!)
Though I like how this show ended up sounding overall, I didn't have time time to really prepare what I wanted to say on these topics as clearly as I would have liked. Well, I think you'll still enjoy the show and get the general idea of why I think one of these three future scenarios is so likely.

  • My Paper on technology and culture.

Thanks to my old friend Chris Behre for his song and vision of transformation. If you ever find this link Chris, let me know how you're doing! Thanks also to Mortal for the intro and transitions (from Lusis).

Note the new Audio Searcher Podzinger, at the bottom of the sidebar. Try it by typing a word in the text box, then playing that audio clip on the next page.


Anonymous said...

Great show my was heartfelt!

Leifh said...

Thanks Shatari. Glad you felt the heart of it (: Especially towards the end. Definately an odd blend of moods (from my hyper goofy beginning to more serious ending).
I was sad to not get your thoughts on the last show, though I know having to do it over was a pain.


James said...

The most interesting part of this episode for me was the transformation portion, which a friend and I have referred to a similar idea as kingdom transformation. The best part about it is the personal interaction it entails, like your commentary -- it shook me out of my multi-tasking, half-listening, half-working, passive mode of operation and made me pay attention. Just the act of personalizing the tone a tiny bit -- "Hey you're okay, whoever you are listening right now..." -- was enough to re-focus my attention fully on the what you were saying. Sometimes that personal side of things can get lost in the mix of daily life, especially on the Internet.

Leifh said...

Thanks James,
Yeah, something felt...good...about that personal part, almost a little prophetic (in the sense that God was saying this to people too...but who knows).

amibugginya said...

I listened to the “Three Futures episode of the “Bleeding Purple” Podcast this morning while playing with my son in the sandbox--yeah, I know; I'm a little late to the party. Ever since I heard your interview of B-Mac, I have wanted to listen to more of “Bleeding Purple”, but I just haven't gotten around to it until now. You know how it is.

But this particular episode really challenged me. I don't have your exact words, but you asked for a vision of what a transformed future will look like. I don't know of any movies that fit the bill. I can think of a few songs that catch a glimpse (i.e. Bruce Cockburn's "Rumors of Glory", U2's "Where the Streets Have no Name," etc.), but I have a couple of the written kind that I'd like to put out there.

The first is my vision that appeared while I was listening (so this is far from comprehensive). I see a revolution beginning one transformed relationship at a time. It isn’t some utopian community*, but rather a first-order commitment to love our neighbor as our selves. No technology is required for this—though even technology can be put into the service of love. Such a revolution must begin within the relationships that shape and sustain our lives now, and like a snowball, gather mass and momentum throughout our communities and eventually our world. I see many different “snowballs” coming together, the shapes irregular, the colors bleeding together, and the trajectory unruly—yet, skillfully guided by the highest Love into a future of faith, hope, and love, to a future where all have enough, where none are excluded, and where “I” disappears in “we.”

The Fundamentalist background from which I escaped placed such emphasis on personal conversion and believing the right things about Jesus that it truly shaped our entire lives, our churches, and our communities—just ask anyone who has been bombarded by a street witnessing team, and they’ll tell you all about it. Our leaders achieved this “success” by vigorously communicating the urgency of appropriate action. My favorite was, “Time’s short and Hell’s hot!” But no matter how it was phrased, it always came down to this: “All eternity depends on our success in winning souls for Christ.”

But what if our world, and perhaps all eternity depended on the success of a different kind of global revolution--a revolution centered entirely on loving one another with the kind of love that Jesus Christ demonstrated toward us? What if every conversation we have with our spouses, our children, our parents, our co-workers, our classmates, our postal carrier, our neighbors our so-called enemies are the opening salvos of this revolution? What if its greatest battles are fought in the soup kitchens, the medical clinics, the immigration safe houses, and all the places where good news is preached in word AND deed to the poor? What if V-Day is when it can truly be said "Your kingdom has come; Your will has been done on earth as it is in heaven? Would such urgency, such priority shape our actions toward a different—a transformed future.

Now for a vision from someone a little more respected and respectable: I haven’t read it yet, but I just purchased a copy of Tom Sine’s “Mustard Seed vs. McWorld.” As far as I can tell, it is a book about competing futures, very similar to this Podcast (with McWorld being a combination of technocracy, oligarchy, and tragedy, and Mustard Seed being the future of transformation). Knowing Sine, he will give ample clarity and concrete examples to his vision.

*Although such a community sounds very nice at times, I don’t believe it will ever work out that way. For one thing such communities are by definition an escape from the “real world”, and thus don’t carry the necessary weight to transform any society (let alone the whole world). Second, it runs so contrary to Jesus’ incarnational model. (I must declare my bias here: I believe Jesus’ model for living is more than just exemplary, but rather perfect, which is the only reason why I choose to follow him.) For too long, well-meaning and good-hearted people have seen the sickness of our societies, and sought to escape from them in the hope of minimizing their chance of infection. Jesus’ method was the polar opposite. He sought to engage his society with the sole purpose of infecting society with his transforming love.

Leifh said...

Hi amibugginya,
No your not bugging me! (Do I sense a little bono in that name?) (;

Thanks for your great thoughts, I'll read them on the next podcast and respond a little more in detail then. Podcasting is supposed to be a time-shifting technology btw, so being late to the party here! (;

One neighbor at a time --like it. Its the details though that I'd love some help and clarity with...


Leifh said...

BTW, noticing your comments here -and I think on the poll --you'd like the 'how bleeding purple listeners get spiritually connected' and the last podcast about Mclaren's new book The Secret Message of Jesus (and the challenge I give after it). Look forward to hearing more from you amibugginya!

Leifh said...

BTW, noticing your comments here -and I think on the poll --you'd like the 'how bleeding purple listeners get spiritually connected' and the last podcast about Mclaren's new book The Secret Message of Jesus (and the challenge I give after it). Look forward to hearing more from you amibugginya!